The confident eyes of Divya said it all. A shy girl until November, Divya had virtually transformed into a bubbling personality in a month since English Program was initiated in Government Primary School Baldian in November 2016. An initiative of District Administration Shimla under the leadership of Deputy Commissioner Mr Rohan Chand Thakur, PRERNA English was a follow up of the previous two phases of PRERNA in which 221 schools were covered in 7 Education Blocks.
PRERNA English was launched on a Pilot basis in 17 cluster schools of Mashobra Education Block to check the interest level of students and teachers alike for the subject. Undoubtedly, it came out clearly within a month that if earnest efforts are made to promote quality education, the results are positive.
While in the initial days of PRERNA, Divya could barely read words correctly, by the end of rigorous one month practice, she emerged as a confident story reader. Divya is one of the examples from among 450 students from these remote 17 schools who benefitted from the program.
The learning gains speak for themselves in PRERNA English. While only 18 percent of the students could read sentences by the beginning of the program in grade 3, the percentage increased to 32 by Endline. A similar trend was also observed across standard 4th and 5th. Many children had graduated to sentence level by end of this pilot camp with Muskan being one of these.
The comprehension level has also increased substantially and half of the children who were able to read sentences by end of the pilot camp were able to comprehend the same too. Children at the letter and word level also benefitted immensely and graduated to the next level by the end of the camp in December.
PRERNA English was a successful pilot camp in itself and this collaborative initiative of District Administration Shimla and Pratham Education Foundation was able to introduce the use of phonetics among these young learners. The children developed confidence in the expression of vocabulary with teachers doing their extra bit to promote this innovation. The analytical skills of young children also developed considerably as they were able to comprehend sentences, pictures and appear as confident speakers.
Special initiatives like Outreach Program Day in which the Deputy Commissioner Shimla along with other key officials also participated motivated the parents to think about the well-being of their children and develop a helping attitude towards their children.
The success of PRERNA Shimla has laid a firm foundation for the continuation of this program as a statewide campaign and many young learners like Divya are waiting to spread the warmth of knowledge in the coming year.